Fitness

How to get fit at your desk

Three simple moves to help you strengthen and tone when you're chained to your desk.

Woman working out at her desk

Photo by Getty Images

We all know the dangers of sitting for hours at your desk, but most of us don’t have a lot of alternatives. We talked to Toronto-based personal trainer and fitness expert Kathleen Trotter about moves that can help you stay fit when you can’t get away from your desk. Try making this an hourly habit with colleagues.

1. Incline desk push-ups
What it works: Chest, shoulders, triceps and core.
How to do it: Place your hands on the edge of your desk, shoulder width apart. Walk your feet backwards. Lower your hips so that your body forms a plank. This is your starting position. Keep your core engaged as you bend your elbows and lower your chest towards your desk. Pause, then push yourself back to your starting position.
Reps: Repeat 10 times.

2. Seated shoulder blade retractions
What it works: Upper back and core. This is an ideal exercise to do multiple times a day if you find yourself rounding forward while you sit at your desk.
How to do it: Sit tall and straighten your arms out in front of you at chest height. This is your starting position. Keep your arms straight and draw your shoulder bladed together. Rest by allowing your blades to pull away from each other, then repeat the motion 10 times. Try not to let your lower back round or arch as you move your arms.

3. Lunge and stretch
What it works: Stretches, strengthens and promotes blood flow to your lower body. As an added bonus, it challenges your balance.
How to do it: Start standing. Step your left leg backwards into a lunge position. Bend both knees so your back knee lowers towards the floor. Straighten your left arm up towards the ceiling. Then, use your right bum muscle to push you up to standing. As you stand, grab your left ankle with your left hand.
Reps: Hold for five seconds and feel a stretch in the front of the left leg. Repeat five times and switch legs.